Shaping Wood, Shaping Artists: Sam Maloof

Ontario, CA - Sam Maloof (January 24, 1916 – May 21, 2009) was an Inland Empire native son who became nationally-renowned as a furniture designer and woodworker. Born in Chino to Lebanese immigrants, he was the first craftsman to receive a MacArthur fellowship. His work is in the collections of major American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, as well as the White House.

Shaping Wood, Shaping Artists: Sam Maloof is on exhibit at Ontario Museum of History & Art and the Chaffey Community Museum of Art.

Sam’s Lebanese background, fused with the local Mexican American culture, produced a master craftsman and artist with a distinctive personality. His work is warm, open, lively, and unadorned. It simultaneously emphasizes the beauty of the wood itself without compromising the functionality of the furniture.

Despite his national prominence, Sam was a thoroughly grounded artist and an active member of the local art community. He freely traded his own work and collected the work of local artists – many of them emerging artists, early in their careers. Sometimes his purchase or encouragement came at a crucial time, encouraging young artists to pursue their artistic careers.  This exhibit tells a new, more personal story about Sam.

Exhibit runs through March 29, 2020.

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